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Jamaal Bowman Says “All Guilty Parties Must Be Held Accountable” In Possible PPP Scam In Mount Vernon

Reports of Alleged FBI Investigation. Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard confirms her own internal investigation into the alleged Paycheck Protection Program kickback scheme

Congressional Candidate Jamaal Bowman speaking at rally for police reform on steps of Mount Vernon City Hall, Saturday, October 17, 2020 [Black Westchester]

NY-16 Congressional candidate Jamaal Bowman tweeted Thursday, “a thorough federal investigation must be conducted and all guilty parties must be held accountable at both a local and federal level,” in response to news reports of possible PPP fraud in Mount Vernon.

Bowman – who defeated Congressman Eliot Engel in the June 2020 Democratic Primary – tweet came after reading news reports from NBC New York and News 12 Westchester.

On Thursday, October 22nd, NBC New York reported,

The Mayor of Mt. Vernon has ordered an investigation into whether any employees improperly tried to profit off the federal Paycheck Protection Program, a city spokesman said. 

The city review is underway after some area residents report being questioned by FBI agents about a possible Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) fraud scheme that could involve dozens of people in Mt. Vernon and other areas of Westchester County, city sources tell News 4.  A handful of city employees may be facing scrutiny for possible involvement, one source added.  

Mt. Vernon city spokesman Daniel Terry said the mayor decided to launch the “internal investigation” amid “rumors” of an ongoing federal investigation focusing of nearly 100 city employees.

While the word had been rumbling in the street and shared on Facebook for a few days, News 12 Westchester officially broke the story, Tuesday, October 20th.

A federal investigation is underway regarding a possible kickback scheme allegedly involving up to 100 Mount Vernon city employees, according to News 12 sources. Officials in law enforcement tell News 12 the scheme involves about 100 city employees – including 25 police officers – who were allegedly involved in a get-rich-quick scheme.

On Monday, Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard told News 12 she knew nothing about this and still knows nothing. She says her office has not received any calls from the federal government, the state or the county about an investigation.

“Right now, all we have is innuendo and rumor and based on innuendo and rumor, if it’s true, it’s disheartening. We’ve spoken to people and no one has gotten any notice. No one has turned themselves in. Right now, we have nothing to hide from, and nothing to respond to.” she says.

Sometime Tuesday, Mayor Shawyn-Patterson Howard sent a memo to city employees as part of her own internal investigation into the alleged Paycheck Protection Program kickback scheme. The memo is addressed to all city employees. The mayor confirmed with News 12 that she sent a memo.

In a post on his personal Facebook page, Wednesday morning, Mount Vernon Police Commissioner Glenn Scott said if people were involved in this scandal, they will be brought to justice.

We reached out to Commissioner Scott, hours later and he said much of the same as the mayor about not hearing from any federal agency.

“At this time, no police officer has come forward to the administration or sought assistance from the PBA,” Scott tells Black Westchester. “The rumors are strong. But I have not been notified by any federal agency, at this time. Police Officers are required to make notification to the department, if they are arrested by another agency.”

I asked Commissioner Scott could he confirm or deny there is an FBI investigation into 100 city employees including 25 at the MVPD who had to turn themselves in. The Commissioner said he could not confirm or deny.

News 12 reports that sources in law enforcement told then that the activities date all the way back to April.

They say the FBI has been investigating for at least the last two months. A Mount Vernon firefighter who wished to remain anonymous says someone in the department reached out about the alleged scheme but turned it down after he felt “it was too good to be true.” He adds, “The scheme involved turning over Social Security and bank account numbers to get the money,” and said the idea of kicking back half the money was “definitely a red flag” and “something that didn’t seem right.”

Congressional candidate Jamaal Bowman couldn’t be reach for further comment about his tweet. But at a rally for police reform Saturday, October 17th, after hearing about the stories of MVPD whistleblower cop, Mount Vernon Police Officer, Murashea Bovell who exposed several acts of corruption, he said the MVPD need to be cleaned up from the inside out.

While Black Westchester has yet to independently confirm a FBI investigation into the alleged PPP scam, we have talked to a few residents who had been approached about the PPP by members of both the MVPD and the FDMV. At least three of them shares with us that they received money and kicked backed money to the city employees who filled out the paperwork for them. All of the residents we spoke to who received money and kicked back a portion to city employees are not business owners as required to get the PPP. I was also approached by a member of the FDMV. I also turned it down.

Stay tuned to Black Westchester for more on this developing story!

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About AJ Woodson (2375 Articles)
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief of Black Westchester and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company. AJ is a Father, Brother, Author, Writer, Journalism Fellow, Rapper, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian and A Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale, Sonicnet.com, Launch.com, Rolling Out Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine and several others.
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